Friday, February 4, 2011

Kenneth Cole Feels Wrath of the Web After Egypt Twitter Gaffe

Kenneth Cole Embroiled in Web Smackdown After Egypt Twitter GaffeFashion designer Kenneth Cole learned the hard way about the power of social media Wednesday when an insensitive tweet linking the uprising in Egypt to the launch of his spring collection resulted in some serious Internet backlash.

Earlier this morning, the company's official Twitter feed put out the following tweet: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online."

Cole later tweeted that he did not intend "to make light of serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment." The offending tweet has since been removed, and Cole issued a lengthier apology on his Facebook page.

"I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt," he wrote. "I've dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate."

The Internet, however, is not ready to let this die. A fake @KennethColePR Twitter feed has popped up with tweets that similarly link disasters or political situations to fashion, much like the @BPGlobalPR feed that made fun of BP's disastrous handling of the Gulf oil spill. Sample: "Of course there are no gays in Iran, they're all shopping at my new outlet in Dubai. Holla!" and "Searching for you missing daughter in Aruba? At least, you don't need to be a van der SLEUTH to find our resort wear!"

Other tweeters are adding their own contributions with the #KennethColeTweets hashtag ("Chase down Anderson Cooper in style with our new lightweight canvas loafers!"), and "Kenneth Cole" is currently trending in most of the major U.S. cities. Someecards has also rounded up the top 10 best and most horribly offensive Cole-related tweets.

Egypt, of course, is in the midst of a political uprising that resulted in the government cutting off access to the Internet for several days. According to the latest reports, eight people have died and nearly 900 people have been injured since the protests began.

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